Director Marcus Nispel arrives on the red carpet for the Los Angeles premiere of "Friday The 13th" at the Graumans Chinese Theater on February 09, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Marcus Nispel

According to Devin Faraci over at CHUD, Marcus Nispel has signed on to replace Brett Ratner as director of the new Conan movie, which is the textbook example of ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’.

Devin is saying that he’s been told by a reputable source that Lionsgate and Nu Image, who have been scratching around for a director to fill Ratner’s shoes since it was revealed that he left the project, have finally found their man in Nispel, the director of Pathfinder and the Friday The 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes.

The pressure to find a director, like, RIGHT GODDAMN NOW, was great with Nu Image’s Joe Gatta, a producer on the new Conan movie, confirming  that the film is locked into an August 24 start date in Bulgaria. That doesn’t give Nispel much time to Crom up on Robert E. Howard’s muscular creation. Ahem.

It’s still a surprise that they’ve gone for Nispel, for two reasons: one, I’d heard on the grapevine that producer Avi Lerner had been courting a director, famous for his love of genre movies, for the gig. Clearly, and unsurprisingly given that gentleman’s penchant for generating his own material, that didn’t work out.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, I’m surprised because Nispel’s track record isn’t all that inspiring. His horror remakes have been particularly unmemorable, while his most Conan-like movie, the Viking flick Pathfinder, was a lavish and near-incoherent mess.

But Nispel’s movies do have one thing in common: they look good, and that’s one thing the new Conan flick will need in spades. It also needs something else: an actor for the title role, and someone who can fill the giant pecs of Arnie. Tough gig.

“We’re not looking to replace Arnold so much as find the next Arnold,” Gatta said “What we’re looking for, first and foremost, is a good actor. We don’t know what country he’s in. We don’t know if he’s in theatre, or in McDonald’s! We’ll have an open casting call – as soon as we hire our new director, the search is on.”

And that search would appear to have already begun, with CHUD’s Devin also suggesting that an announcement will be made on that front very, very soon. Keep ‘em peeled. In the meantime, though, what do you think of this – is Nispel a good choice?